Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Economic Impact Payments and the Treasury Offset Program
On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Treasury Offset Program (TOP), which collects federal nontax and state debts, has prepared the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) to address debtor inquiries during this crisis.
Economic Impact Payments:
On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, which, among other things, authorizes economic impact payments (also referred to as “stimulus payments” or “recovery rebate payments”) to eligible individuals. For details on these economic impact payments, please visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus.
The economic impact payments can be offset through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) only to collect delinquent child support obligations that have been referred by the state to TOP.
Your entire economic impact payment can be offset, up to the amount of your child support debt.
If you are receiving your economic impact payment jointly with your spouse and only the spouse owes the child support debt, you can file an injured spouse form with the IRS. Please visit the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-8379 to file your claim.
If you have questions regarding whether you owe a child support debt that has been referred to TOP, you can call the TOP Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system at 800-304-3107.
No. The CARES Act did not grant states any discretion to reduce or eliminate offsets due to hardship.
These questions, and others, can be answered by visiting the IRS website at www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know.
Other Types of Payment:
If you have questions about the collection of your federal tax debt, please visit IRS at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.
During this time, TOP will continue to collect all certified delinquent nontax and state debts through TOP from all eligible payments. For debts that remain active for collection in TOP, offsets will continue until a debt has been paid in full or until we have been directed by the federal agency or state to stop offsets.
On March 26, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury exempted the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) benefit payments from offset due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This exemption will remain in effect through September 21, 2020. During this time, SSA benefit payments will not be offset.
On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which, among other things, authorizes recovery rebates to eligible individuals. Any payments resulting from these rebates will not be subject to offset, except for child support obligations.
A full list of payments that are exempt from offset are available at https://fiscal.treasury.gov/files/dms/dmexmpt.pdf.
TOP’s IVR at 800-304-3107 can provide you with information about what debts remain subject to collection through TOP.
If you are experiencing a financial hardship due to COVID-19, or for other reasons, you should contact the federal agency or state to which the debt is owed to discuss any options that may be available. TOP’s IVR at 800-304-3107 can provide you with the direct contact information for the federal agency or state the debt is owed to.
For more information on the Treasury Offset Program, please visit our website at www.fiscal.treasury.gov/TOP.